Tuesday, 18 August 2009

In Mint Condition

I HAD the privilege of eating at Mint last night, which reopens its doors to the public tonight.
The Sutton Coldfield restaurant was forced to shut after being flooded but, after a bit of a revamp, it's ready to feed the chic set once again.
I was one of the select few to sample some of the new dishes on the menu in a seven-course tasting extravaganza.
It's an attractive little restaurant - both inside and out; the interior wouldn't look out of place in a boutique hotel and it's menu aspires to match its stylish, modern decor.
Seared scallops with a salt cod brandade with lemon puree provided a punchy start to our meal. Personally I found that the lemon slightly overpowered the delicate scallop, although the petite brandade was flavoursome and delightfully crisp.
A portion of wonderfully succulent pigeon, served with pomegranates and cabbage followed, and proved the best course of the evening. The meat was juicy and perfectly cooked
However, the delight at this course was overshadowed by the disappointment of the next. A deconstructed tuna Nicoise was a nice idea but just didn't work.
The flavour of the tuna carpaccio (which had been coated in a layer of star anise) was lost beneath a quinelle of salty tapenade, an anchovy, a quail's egg topped in spicy cayenne, while the barely cooked cubes of potatoes added nothing.
Similarly undercooked vegetables were served with the cannon of lamb; while I like al dente, the baby onions were unpleasantly hard, as were the veggies in the ratatouille. However, the perfectly pink lamb was tender, but unnecessarily wrapped in a layer of chicken and herb mousse.
A pre-dessert of elderflower jelly trifle was subtle, while the main event - a treacle tart with vanilla icecream - was a little too tart for my tastebuds, although I appreciated the good, short pastry.
Due to the nature of the evening, and all tables arriving at the same time, service was a little slow, however this was more than compensated by friendly and helpful staff.
Mint has commendably high aspirations, which are often met - a few tweaks and it'll be right on the money!
For more details in Mint go to www.mint-restaurant.co.uk


Mrs Woffington said...

Hi Emily, lovely to meet you last night. Shame about the undercooked veg - ours seemed fine, though I think the inconsistency was probably the strain of mass catering. Agree with you about the tuna - the tapenade/cayenne didn't work but loved that little elderflower jelly (I'm obsessed with making jellies for some reason and do an elderflower and champagne one at home).

Emily said...

Lovely to meet you too Mrs W. Glad you had a good evening. I think Mint has a lot of potential, don't you? I hope they rebuild a solid reputation as they are an asset for Sutton Coldfield!

Heavenly Housewife said...

Its a very adventurous menu. Maybe they are just trying to hard. Sometimes its best to do something simple, but just to do it really well.

bhealthier said...

hi there! I just found your blog and think you do great restaurant reviews! I love your reaction section on the comment area as well.

is the elderflower the same plant that is used for elderberry wine ?

Emily said...

Thanks for reading all! It was a bit adventurous for the ability of the chef, I thought. Just shows how clever you have to be to pull stuff like that off, I suppose!

Yes, same at elderberry wine (I say with false confidence!)

Thinspired said...

Em, you get invited to so many cool foodie things! This sounds like a special, invitation-only event? So cool.

Have you ever thought about including photos with your reviews? As a food voyeur, I would love that ;)

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